Most people I know don’t even have a clothing budget. Why? Probably because clothes last a lot longer than many other of life’s necessities. When you buy something, you probably aren’t thinking of replacing it someday, but rest assured the day will come when the best place for well-worn clothing may be the rag bag. Follow these tips to stretch your clothing budget and you won’t have to rue the day you have to replace items in your closet.
1. Shop thrift and surplus stores.
Unfortunately, thrift and surplus stores have been given a bad rap. Many of these stores are filled with hundreds of top quality items. Name brand merchandise is easy to find, but just like clearance racks, it takes time. Find a thrift or surplus store close to where you live and plan on spending some time to find some outstanding bargains. Goodwill Industries has revamped many of its stores upgrading the quality of the merchandise it puts out. The Assistance League Thrift Shops are another great place to find quality clothing at really cheap prices. These are especially good places to find kids clothes. Because kids grow out of their clothes so fast, it makes more sense to buy used than to buy new. What’s more, some of the clothes for kids have hardly been worn.
2. Mix and match.
Instead of buying a matched suit, buy separate pieces. One pair of gray slacks (men’s or women’s) can be worn numerous times with different jackets, blouses/shirts. Stay with the basic colors of navy, brown, tan, black, gray. Add color with blouses/shirts and scarves/ties. These cost less and can expand a small wardrobe of skirts/pants/jackets exponentially.
3. Buck the trend.
Stay away from trendy fashions. Their life is usually very short, and there’s nothing worse than being out of fashion. Basic lines in clothing are eternal. Never buy anything just because everyone else is wearing it. If you absolutely can’t do without the “mode-o-day,” check out TJ Max, Ross Dress For Less or Burlington Coat Factory for current fashions at bargain prices.
4. Buy wash-and-wear.
Dry cleaning is expensive and becoming more so because the cleaning fluids are petroleum based. Whenever possible buy wash-and-wear clothing or good woolens that can be worn many times before dry cleaning.
5. Prolong the life of your duds.
Remove stains as quickly as possible. On wash-and-wear clothing sometimes its as simple as attacking the stain with cold water or sparkling water. Sometimes stains will need the help of a mild detergent and a few minutes of soaking. Dawn Liquid Detergent is fantastic for cleaning up grease or oil stains before they can permanently damage your clothing. Here are 10 more ways to insure longer life for your clothes.
6. Buy on sale.
It seems clothing is always on sale. With all the sales throughout the year, you should never have to buy anything that isn’t on sale. Department stores are usually the best places to find good buys because they have the most things to get rid of.
7. Avoid impulse buying.
If you are searching for something in particular, don’t be swayed by everything else that gets in the way. Practice sales resistance if you can’t find what you want. It’s better to go home with nothing than to buy something that you’ll never use which would only be a waste of money.
8. Shop consignment shops.
Consignment shops work two ways. Not only can you buy gently used clothing there that is usually less than two years old, but you can turn around and consign your own gently used clothing and recoup some of the money you spent. Consignment shops cover the gamut of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing. Some specialize in just one type while others are a family affair.
9. Buy dual-purpose clothing.
Think “little black dress.” Clothes that can go from office to the rare or occasional cocktail party or semi-formal affair are far more practical than trying to dress for every occasion. A man’s basic black suit serves the same purpose.
10. High price doesn’t necessarily mean quality.
T-shirts are a prime example of a clothing item that can cost under $10 to as much as $50 for a designer brand. Better quality T-shirts can be found at places like Penney’s, Target or Sears. They last just as long and look just as nice as a T-shirt you pay a premium price for.